Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Watch the UConn Infomerical"

Nearly every day, UConn president Michael Hogan, athletic director Jeff Hathaway and/or head men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun calls Rick Evrard to see what kind of progress is being made on the investigation into potential recruiting violations.

And every day, Evrard gives them the same answer he gave me today: "I don't know."

"They're my client," Evrard said, "and the best I can I keep them up to speed on everything I do. We're working as diligently and thoroughly as we possibly can."

But to this point, Evrard – retained by UConn as an outside legal counsel to look into alleged violations in Nate Miles' recruitment – really can give no major updates. He can't even venture a guess as to how long the investigation might take.

"I don't have a timeline on its completion," Evrard said.

One thing Evrard was able to clarify: if the NCAA penalizes UConn by a reduction in scholarship(s) – and that is a purely hypothetical situation – the reduction wouldn't come until the 2010-11 season, at the earliest. In other words, none of the current players or incoming recruits at UConn could have their scholarship yanked away if the NCAA determines that the school can just have, say, 12 scholarships, rather then the current allotment of 13.

Speaking of which, and in other news …

***The Huskies are pretty much done with their recruiting for the Class of 2009. Unless a 7-footer falls out of the sky, UConn's 13 scholarship players for next season seem pretty much set at this point: Jerome Dyson, Gavin Edwards, Stanley Robinson, Kemba Walker, Donnell Beverly, Ater Majok, Jonathan Mandeldove, Charles Okwandu, Scottie Haralson and incoming freshmen Jamaal Trice, Darius Smith, Alex Oriahki and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel.

Recruiting season ended last Wednesday, and the Huskies used that day to take another look at Brandon Knight down in Florida. Also there: Syracuse, Kentucky and Villanova, among others (though apparently not Duke, long thought to be a frontrunner in the Knight sweepstakes).

***Majok is still working out with UConn players each day at Gampel Pavilion and won't start making visits to NBA teams until after classes are through. He may not visit a whole bunch of teams, since underclassmen must pay their own way for flights, lodging, etc. – although some teams geographically near each other (i.e., the Nets and Knicks) might double up on some workouts.

***A.J. Price and Jeff Adrien have been invited to tryouts for numerous teams, including Washington, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Toronto and San Antonio (the teams can pay for those trips). Word is that Price is still a borderline first-round pick while Adrien could go anywhere in the second round (or go undrafted). Hasheem Thabeet is still thought to be anywhere from No. 2 through 5 overall, so he'll hold off on any tryouts until he learns the NBA draft lottery order, then probably visit a small list of teams.

***Charles Okwandu is said to be the most improved player among next year's crop of Huskies. Coaches have been impressed with his speed and athleticism in workouts and scrimmages. He's also supposedly had a good semester in the classroom. So has Stanley Robinson – in fact, Robinson has apparently had his best semester, academically, yet at UConn.

***UConn couldn't have a better built-in recruiting tool than the current Celtics-Bulls series. When Ray Allen and Ben Gordon go at it in epic, head-to-head battles, it couldn't be better salesmanship for the school. In fact, UConn coaches have sent e-mails saying "Watch the UConn Infomercial" to prospective recruits, referring to the Celts-Bull series.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Into the Mystic with Jim Calhoun

Jim Calhoun will hold a meet and greet at Mystic Aquarium on Thursday, May 7.

From 6 to 7 p.m., enjoy cocktails and hors d' oeuvres during an intimate reception with Coach Calhoun on the main exhibit floor. At 7 p.m., Coach Calhoun will speak about his work and commitment to the aquarium - a division of Sea Research Foundation, Inc. - as a new trustee.
Five lucky individuals will win a basketball signed by Coach Calhoun during a drawing.

Here's the basic info:

WHAT: Meet and greet cocktail reception with UCONN Men's Basketball Coach and new Sea Research Foundation Trustee Jim Calhoun

WHEN: Thursday, May 7 from 6 to 8 p.m.

WHERE: Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, 55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic, CT 06355

COST: $65 per person with cash bar. All donations to Sea Research Foundation are tax-deductible. Reservations are required. Please call (860) 572-5955 ext. 336 to make a reservation.

About Sea Research Foundation, Inc. Mystic Aquarium, Institute for Exploration and Immersion Presents are divisions of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., a private, non-profit, charitable organization incorporated in the State of Connecticut. The mission of Sea Research is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.